I smelled Aomassaï several times when I was just beginning my fragrance hobby and I didn’t like it.
It took for me to start experimenting with both cooking in the kitchen – wasting whole pans of sugar in an effort to produce a good caramel – and burning frankincense on a small burner at home for me to understand, and then appreciate, and then finally love the smell of things approaching smoking point when subjected to high heat.
Aomassaï finds that common thread between hazelnuts, orange peel, caramel, and vanilla sugar – the smoky, dark bitterness they all share when approaching smoking point – and emphasizes it with equally dark elements such as wenge wood, resins, and black, soft licorice.
It could have been a treacly mess, a sop to the modern taste for simple syrup in the gourmand category, but Aomassaï is never too sweet. Instead, the foodie elements are subjected to intense heat and distorted beyond what is commonly accepted as “nice” smelling. It is sweet and bitter in equal measure. Furthermore, the smoking resins, grassy vetiver, hay, and dark wenge woods tether the sweet notes and prevent them from becoming cloying.
Barely anybody mentions the vanilla in Aomassaï. I had used maybe a full quarter of my bottle before I realized that it has the most beautiful vanilla in the dry-down. Once I had mentally subtracted all of the burned caramel and incense and nutty notes, I finally noticed it, and the sense of revelation was like finally spotting the image in a Magic Eye painting. Now it’s almost my favorite part of Aomassaï, that deep, dark vanilla. It is both smoking hot and paper dry.
Whenever anyone is asking for recommendations for fragrances that smell like coffee, Aomassaï is always the first one that jumps to mind. But I recommended it once (I think on a Facebook group) and the general reaction was confusion: surely, they all said politely, there is no coffee in Aomassaï. Well, perhaps not. But I still smell coffee.
Specifically, to me, it smells like someone peeling an orange in a coffee shop fragrant with the aroma of burned coffee grounds and old newspapers strewn everywhere on dark, rickety wooden tables. In my mind’s eye, this coffee place is intimately dark and cozy. It’s not the kind of place you’d wander into casually. You’d have to mean it. But once you’re there, you’re one of the regulars.
Although they are very different scents and perhaps nobody except me sees the connection, but I think that Aomassaï has much in common with both Serge Lutens’ Un Bois Vanille and Dior Privee Eau Noire. They all share strong licorice/anise notes, have dark wood notes that could be loosely interpreted as burnt coffee grounds, a smoky atmosphere, and a dry, papery vanilla in the far dry-down. And as it so happens, all three of these fragrances exemplify exactly the type of gourmand approach I appreciate – inedible but still incredibly appetizing.
I'm not very skilled at analyzing the notes and can just say this is one outstanding fragrance. Sweet but not too sweet. Sillage and longevity are excellent.
Genre: Woody Oriental
Pierre Guillaume’s scents for his own Parfumerie Generale line have been hit-or-miss for me. Some, like Querelle, Yuzu Ab Irato, Coze, and L’Oiseau de Nuit, have been “just OK” as far as I’m concerned. Others, including Intrigant Patchouli, Papyrus de Ciane, and Jardins de Kérylos, have been out-of-the-ball-park hits. Though as a gourmand oriental Aomassaï is not the type of scent I normally enjoy, I must now group it with those last three among my favorites from this house.
Smoky vanilla, toasted nuts, and burnt sugar support a smoldering heart accord of incense, licorice, hazelnut, and spices. This dark, dark composition is ideally balanced: the intense smoky quality keeps the structure from teetering into oppressive sweetness. What could have been a trite, cloying scent is instead a paragon of warm, brooding mystery. Aomassaï demonstrates what so many inferior gourmand scents could be but aren’t. A marvelous achievement in a difficult genre.
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The opening is a vanillic-resinous accord with a realistic caramel note, so bitter and strong it almost goes on the boozy side, then spices (saffron, cumin, cinnamon?), tonka, cocoa beans: a dark, dusty gourmand, slightly close to Slumberhouse's Ore as regards of the "concept", with a floral lavender touch and a slightly waxy/powdery orris root note. A load of spices, perfectly blended with the spices-boozy caramel accord. Peculiar and not bad at all, quite distinctive and interesting, also nondescript, as it smells Oriental, but also "European" (the caramel, the booze, the general restrained shape). The base slowly emerges with a dry green-suede like accord, the overall evolution is really nice and pleasant, must admit I quite enjoy this unusual "axe" of progress – a green-spicy-sweet-powdery geometry. The notes are dissonant, but somehow really harmonic. Finally it evolves on a talcum-balsamic accord still with spices and slightly sweet, a bit delicate but fairly persistent. Overall one of the nicest Parfumerie Générale I've ever tested (not a fan so far).
Parfumerie Generale Aomassai 10 smells on me kind of "tasty" but never-cloying (on the contrary somewhat sharp) and quite structured.
What appears by soon as a weird stuff seems to be the contrast of diverse (somewhat opposite) feelings since the first blast after which you can detect all at once either several synthetically modern A* Men's vibes (little amber/caramel, aromatic elements, a touch of toasted coffee?) and hyper realistic and natural O'Driu's (bitter licorice/hay/orangy peels anisic accord) landmark feels. I detect by soon the nutty/syrupy yummy feel which is anyway counteracted by a sort of medicinal/bitter/slightly boozy-anisic vibe indeed. Along the trip the aromatic bitterness and the paper-hay type of vibes tend to subside and to leave the stage free for soft creaminess, masculine classic complexity and spicy delicacy. Really dark, resinous and moderataly sweet in its burnt sugar bitter/sweet outcome. An extreme balance stands out with this introvert semi-gourmand with some secret initial aqueous freshness in the mix and a touch of incense/spicy powder. I detect a vague boozy background along the trip and a sort of coffee liqueur type of vibe which are incredibly soft, balanced, clearly woody and with a final suede type of smoothness. The dry down, in spite of being full-bodied, mild and enveloping, remains in the perception basically dry (or better on an average level) complex, masculine (carnal and prickly spicy/incensey with a surprising touch of saltiness), structured and classy with a more than vague sort of classic background (I mean slightly herbal, spicy, dusty, virile with a touch of ambergris and distinctive). The aromatic notes-citrus-resinous incense-woody elements-patchouli-ambergris "comforting" (warm and organic) connection reports me vaguely in mind the Jacques Zolty's co-operations of equivalent notes which play anyway outside the gourmandish territories. On the complex I find this juice really interesting and despite it sails out from my olfactory waters I appreciate a lot its balance, the brand blindly itself and the spicy and warm background. Longevity and projection are in the average.
Pros: Well balanced
Cons: Not my cup of tea"</p>
03rd September, 2013 (last edited: 06th September, 2015)
Aomassai opens with a rich caramel note that leaves me with my mouth watering! Right after a couple seconds the hazelnut appears giving some depth to this fragrance in a very balanced way. A dessert, a very well crafted and edible dessert with nothing exaggerated in it. In Aomassai the sweetness presents itself in a soft way that throughout time shows us the amber aspect o it.
I loved this at first. The sweet carmel, the resinous drydown, woods... All things I love! But something about it is wrong on my skin. Like I'm making carmels with milk that has slightly gone off, then I cooked it on heat that was a bit too high. I absolutely hate that I can't love it. :( I should. But I also realized that the base is PG Indochine all the way. And that one I love. So I will add my own sweets on top and a guess be pleased I don't feel obligated to spend all the extra money on a FB. :)
I'll just admit this right up front: I love Aomassai. Of course, I'm also partial to sweet vanilla-based gourmands, so if neither vanilla nor gourmands are up your alley, Aomassai may not be for you.
But while the vanilla is there -- in all of its sweet, warm, gooey goodness -- it never takes center stage. That honor belongs to the hazelnuts, incense, and woods.
On me, Aomassai is all about warm, toasted woods, and I agree completely with the reviewer who feels "autumn" in this fragrance. Aomassai evokes the crisp, sunny autumn Saturday of a football game in New England, where roasted nuts predominate over smoked meats and where the sky is so perfectly blue you want to cry. And then, as the sun sets and the chill of the evening descends, it wraps you in the warm sweetness of the balsam, vanilla, and resins.
It's just lovely.
19th August, 2011 (last edited: 15th September, 2011)
Anyone into gourmandic fragrances should try Aomassai as it's one of the most complex, original and compelling compositions in the genre. Caramel, nuts and vanilla represented in their roasted/smoky side. Burnt sugar, hints of incense and "sweet" liquorice join the party in the drydown. Dark, deep and very distinctive.
While I'm usually not into gourmandic fragrances I believe Aomassai brings this genre to a brand new level that's far from being cloying, overly sweet or simply "appetizing", introducing some darkness and mistery to a cathegory that too often is an end in itself.
17th July, 2011 (last edited: 05th August, 2011)
I love that this scent is a gourmand, yet not very sweet on me. The hazelnut and caramel accord sit on a base of the most perfect vanilla. I dont get the woods from this, just a delicious hazelnut coffee scent with a just the right amount of cream. Its warm and comforting. What you might smell in the air of a very quaint and classy coffee shop in......... What country makes the best coffee?
I should declare from the outset that gourmands are a genre of fragrance I feel unable to embrace. The desire or need to feel edible has never been one of my priorities. That said, Aomassai is undoubtedly an interesting and intelligently constructed scent, I can admire it from afar.
Beyond the thick children’s dessert opening, which is a heavy caramel and hazelnut combo, it actually settles into something light and soothing. There are no sharp edges, and the initial excesses are reined in significantly to leave something accessibly sweet and cool on the skin.
This is certainly not for those with a diabetic palate, but for others, this will be high quality comfort food.
When one walks into a bakery where fresh bread just came out of the oven, that is one kind of gourmand fragrance; food. Aomassai has the olfactory components of caramel and hazel nuts taken to the next level where the fragrance is a bit more abstract, but still full of the mmmmmm feeling. There is no thought of food, but rather of how wonderful one smells while wearing it. Two thumbs up for this gourmand masterpiece from Parfumerie Generale.
09th January, 2011 (last edited: 14th April, 2011)
In my opinion this is one of the best works of Pierre Guillaume, great idea blending the gourmand notes of caramel and toasted hazelnut with the deepness of woods and incense.
very long lasting on my skin.
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Upon initial application I get a blast of cedar with something slightly sweet in the background. It smells like my father, who works as an arborist and loves cream cheese danishes. I was hoping for all the caramel, hazelnut, smoky gourmand yumminess because I normally like gourmands, but this was just all woods and sweet powder on my skin. I would definitely say this is an enjoyable fragrance, but this is not something I would purchase, or contribute to the hype of.
Sweet carmel but not the icky sweet caramel… this one is sophisticated and adult. One way it is more adult is that it is presented with toasted hazelnuts, for a burned effect that reduces the sweet aroma of caramel. Underneath caramel and smoky hazelnut accord, I get the licorice whose obscure sweetness forms an agreeable tension with the caramel. I like this conflict very much... it adds its tension to the opening accord to make it so much more intriguing than the several cloyingly sweet interpretation of these elements that I’ve tested. The movement from the opening to the middle and base is quite slow and this lethargy shows the smoothness of this fragrance’s strong, unique notes. The drydown is excellent. It’s a dry, aromatic (resinous, even) wood accord that is everything a wood lover like me can ask for… I can identify the wenge wood, the vetiver, the incense, the dried grass and certainly the resins: everything I love… Identify them but I feel the drydown could be stronger; if fact, I find the whole fragrance rather too discreet. Aomassai contains beautiful and captivating accords and I would like them to show off a little more than they do… and they could last a little longer than they do.
The take-no-prisoners opening of vanilla and caramel takes, ahem, some getting used to. Thankfully, all of that quiets down enough to reveal a wonderfully unique heart that's sweet, dusty, woodsy and grassy all at the same time. Definitely one-of-a-kind. The far dry-down is a slightly disappointing vanilla, coming after those fireworks.
I like it enough to own and drain my decant, but I don't think I'd ever spring for a bottle. Its uses are a bit... limited, I guess.
Aomassai didn't impress me initially. I originally found the caramel opening lacking in richness, as if caramel syrup were cut 50/50 with water, a very strange sensation. But I came to appreciate the way this less intense sweetness melds so seamlessly with a grassy accord which I can't say is the straight up vetiver note I've come to know. No, this really smells like grass, but again, smoothed out, almost watered down -- a painting in water colors. Toasted hazelnuts, watery grass and watered down caramel whose warm, burnt notes come into focus later on in the development, soft spice, silky woods: The result is a very intriguing, modern, somehow sophisticated and chic combination. This grassy accord, I just can't get enough of how oddly satisfying it is juxtaposed, or I should technically say, woven into, these softly sweet gourmand notes.
I also thought of Mechant Loup while trying to get at the heart of this fragrance. Though they don't smell alike, I think Mechant Loup is an easy fragrance to draw a parallel with to a certain degree because they have a similar "weight" (come to think of it, Aomassai has a very L'Artisan sensibility while retaining commendable lasting power) and they both have gourmand notes and a gourmand feel but intriguingly, they are initially not warm fragrances, but rather, almost cool, wistful, melancholic, evocative of something outside their sweet notes. I know I'm falling prey to the perfumer's description of his own scent but when I wear this, I do feel transported somehow to a vast, open African plane, sitting in the tall grass, the wind carrying something sweet, burnt, cooking above a distant fire. I'm sold. Aomassai is not only a wonderful work of art but also an incredibly satisfying, wearable and versatile fragrance.
Opening accord is sour and watery..Like maybe damp rotten wood...it takes some time to settle to the lovely smell of hazelnuts..here im reminded of the seminal release by L'Artisan Parfumer, Mechant Loup. from here on, it pretty much smells like roasted shells with touch of spices.. after an hour or so, this scent evokes touch of sweetness and smokiness..so what was devoid of any sweetness suddenly reveals sweeter accords...i find this this pretty interesting in PG scents. seems he enjoys doing development of scent in phases. the base is pretty soft and woody with hint of sweetness from resins. stays close to skin though. i'd prefer Mechant loup over it...sorry...
14th August, 2009 (last edited: 18th August, 2009)
Aomassai is a distinctive gourmand that opens up complexly with roasted hazelnuts, caramel, and a melange of spices, drying down to a simple accord of vanilla and woods. It's an EDT, so longevity and sillage is just average despite the strong start.
This is beautiful, complex, mysterious and perfectly balanced. It's a little tangy at first with a strong vetiver and wood before settling into the wonderful sweet but never cloying mix of vanilla, caramel, nuts and woods. The dry down is extremely pleasant. Staying power seems fantastic with 11 hours and counting for me. I absolutely love it.
My experience with this one is vastly different from those who describe Aomassai as sweet, warm, or inviting. I expected this to be like a richer, more nuanced Tutti Dolci Creme Brulee, and it was, for a couple minutes at the beginning. Then Aomassai became coolly medicinal, burning my nostrils like a camphor or a menthol. (Maybe that's the celery? or the woods? both?) This persisted for nine hours. Underneath that heavy, chilly blanket slept something vaguely resembling a gourmand. The idea of this one is intriguing, and it probably is, on someone who wears it well. But I don't wear it well.
Parfumerie Generale Aomassai
Notes: caramel, toasted hazelnuts, licorice, bitter orange, spices, wenge wood, vetiver, balsam wood, incense, dried grasses, resins (from luckyscent.com)
On first spray, Aomassi is incredibly sweet, the main note being burnt and caramelized sugar. Under this note is something more "fresh" and green smelling--I was not sure what this could be, so I sprayed the fragrance on a tissue for slower development. The green note smells very much like celery to me, both watery and herbal. I find the smell of celery to be rather off-putting, and its presence really takes a note I find difficult (burnt sugar) and turns it into a nauseating mess. Imagine the combination of carbon (smoky, gritty), sugar (sweet), caramel (balsamic) and celery (medicinal, aquatic). I am pretty sure this is a love-it-or-hate-it combination of notes, and unfortunately, it is one that I find almost intolerable. I am thankful that there is not anything *wrong* with this accord, i.e., I have no headache, runny nose, nor any hyperosmia. I simply do not like it. And it doesn't help that it turns my stomach.
The top accord wears off after about an hour to reveal a sweet vanillic, powdery and light floral middle and base. The drydown is lovely, although not anything ground breaking. The powder is nicely subdued and never becomes harsh or sharp. The vanilla is well done, slightly woody and leathery, and does not venture into cooking extract territory. There is a tiny bit of spice which is barely perceptible. I am sure the spice helps round out the fragrance, especially since the sweetness carries all through the development. The very late drydown is faint, and smells vaguely dry, woody, spicy and powdery. Longevity is low, around 3 hours, and sillage is light to moderate. Aomassi seems quite feminine, but with its smoky and green top notes, a man may enjoy it also.
Gag! Thick and syrupy chocolate and woods. While I like gourmand scents, does something need to be this intense? And as far as I know, it's an EdT! While I find the scent absolutely delicious, it is not bearable to wear.
When I put this on, I immediately thought of reading a book in a cozy home library, wearing a rich robe and fuzzy slippers. The perfume immediately engendered a "comfort" feeling for me. At first, the initial smell was a bit too sweet (even for me and I am generally a huge fan of sweeter gourmands) but the drydown just made me fall in love. It brought back memories of walking through the crisp fall leaves in damp weather, smelling the smoke from chimneys and the smell of hot chocolate wafting through the air. An amazing perfume.
Toasted hazelnuts, caramel and licorice open this stunning gourmand with flair! Not too sweet either. Enticing and amazing, just can't help but snorfle my wrist! Soon after these sweets have tickled my palate, the warmth and smokiness of incense & spice slowly come forth. Underlying is a constant wafting of balsam, keeping balance with vetiver and 'dried grass' accord. If ever there was a scent offering "tidings of comfort and joy" - this is it! Clever, well crafted, bottle-worthy!
I've tried many times to enjoy this more, but it's very much a neutral for me. It starts out like canned cake icing, has some middle notes that almost hint at some woody depth, but that soon vanishes and it leaves you with a cotton candy base that lasts an incredible amount of time. Even just a dab on the hand will be detectable 13 hours later.
Opens with a sweet caramel and spice over a woody background, like resin. I get a distinct butterscotch accord. This is a gourmand fragrance that doesn't become too heavy- handed with the candy. It even has a bit of a leather charactersitic. Interesting.
Many of PG's line have gourmand notes, so it's not surprising that a full gourmand would be so rich and full. Caramel and licorice are the primary notes, but as with Yohji Homme, there is a distinct roasted quality to the entire fragrance that keeps it from becoming sweet and cloying. Take Yojhi Homme, roast it for another couple hours to take out the sweetness, and you'd be close to this.
There are definitely some background notes of wood and incense that give body and depth to the Aomassai, but in a discrete way that never interferes with the gourmand-ness of the entire fragrance. The incense becomes somewhat more noticeable in the base, at which point the composition in general becomes slightly musky. Serge Lutens' Un Bois Vanille is a similar fragrance in that it recreates an aromatic atmosphere (of say, a coffee shop or a bakery), but for some reason Aomassai is less sweet and more wearable. Perhaps this is because Aomassai does not rely on vanilla or coffee notes, as most gourmands do.
I'm perplexed at the reviewer that experienced poor longevity. I literally dabbed the back of my hand with the sample vial - not even one spray - and I could smell it for hours and hours. Two sprays would be more than enough for a morning-til-bed application for me.
If you like the PG line you have to try to this - but avoid at all costs if you don't like gourmands.
Published notes: caramel, toasted hazelnuts, licorice, bitter orange, spices, wenge wood, vetiver, balsam wood, incense, dried grasses, resins (per Luckyscent.com)
absolutely lovely, thought not for everyone. suitable for colder months (i've already worn it during summer and it's fine, but the colder months and wool scarves and pullovers let the scent stand out more). imagine gourmand caramel paired with burning leaves and maybe a hint of dark bitter chocolate and woods.
A favorite gourmand. I get quite a bit of licorice, but for some reason it's not bothersome to me, though I usually dislike licorice accord. Probably because it's expertly blended with nuts, vanilla, a hint of caramel, and a deep dark chocolate that comes on slowly in the fragrance's prograssion. Despite the above it is NOT sweet, so you gooey sticky sweet dessert gourmand lovers might not like it. I'm finding out that I love most gourmands, sweet and not. Extra points for creativity-for coming up with such an interesting & grownup gourmand. I understand the Angel analogy brought up by LisaWood, and I can see aspects of Aomassai where that rings true, but to me it's much better, without the skank/b.o. accord that makes Angel unwearable on my skin. A wishlist item.
01st July, 2008 (last edited: 02nd July, 2008)